Stanford University
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Change Leadership for Sustainability Program

Degree Requirements

The Sustainability Science and Practice coterminal master’s program welcomes and integrates students with diverse experiences and viewpoints, as we believe this is essential to solving the complex, interdisciplinary sustainability challenges of our time. Stanford students from a broad range of undergraduate disciplines– from computer science to sociology, and Earth systems to public policy – are encouraged to apply.

Choose an MS or MA

Students have the option to pursue either an M.S or an M.A. in Sustainability Science and Practice. The type of degree earned will depend on whether the student takes a majority of natural science and engineering units or social sciences and humanities units. The M.S. and M.A. are designed to be accessible to students from any undergraduate major, once certain pre-requisites are satisfied. During the program, students are able to petition for course and elective exceptions through a Course Petition Form. 


Students who wish to earn an M.S. in Sustainability Science and Practice must fulfill the following mathematics and statistics requirements prior to or during the master’s program.

If the math and statistics requirements are fulfilled during the master’s program, the units for the course work may not be counted toward the 45 units required for master's degree completion.

How to Apply

1) Review eligibility - see above links to degree requirements.

2) Prepare the required materials:

  • The online Stanford coterminal application
  • A statement of purpose – about one page in length – that describes why this program is meaningful to the applicant, what experiences and education have prepared the applicant for the program, and provides a clear picture of who the applicant is and what matters to him or her. 
  • A resume.
  • A current Stanford unofficial transcript.
  • Two letters of recommendation from Stanford faculty who know the applicant well and can speak to the student's qualifications and fit for the program. At least one of the faculty writers must be an Academic Council Member. An optional third letter of recommendation may also be submitted for consideration.
  • Master's Program Proposal completed to include a list of courses that the student proposes to take to fulfill degree requirements. Prior to submission, prospective students must have this proposal form signed by the faculty member who will serve as the student's master's advisor. Students must also have their course proposal reviewed and signed by Rachel Hipps, the SUST Student Services Officer. To schedule a course proposal review meeting, please email Rachel at Students can view pre-approved courses and electives on the SUST Master's Course Spread Sheet. 

Please note that we do not require GRE scores.

3) Submit the online application by the deadline. Applications close at 11.59pm on the 7th Tuesday of each quarter. For the 2019/2020 academic year, applications are due as follows:

  • Autumn quarter: November 5, 2019
  • Winter quarter: February 18, 2020 
  • Spring quarter: May 12, 2020

4) Decisions and acceptances:

Applications will be reviewed each quarter after the application deadline, and applicants can expect to be notified of admissions decisions via email within approximately 5 business days. If an offer of admission is extended, students will have one week to accept or decline that offer. Instructions for this will be in the offer email.

Please also see our Explore Degrees listing in the Bulletin.

University Coterminal Requirements

University requirements for the coterminal master’s degree are described in the Coterminal Master’s Program section. After accepting admission to this coterminal master’s degree program, students may request transfer of courses from the undergraduate to the graduate career to satisfy requirements for the master’s degree. Transfer of courses to the graduate career requires review and approval of both the undergraduate and graduate programs on a case by case basis. 

In this master’s program, courses taken during or after the first quarter of the sophomore year are eligible for consideration for transfer to the graduate career; the timing of the first graduate quarter is not a factor. No courses taken prior to the first quarter of the sophomore year may be used to meet master’s degree requirements.

Course transfers are not possible after the bachelor’s degree has been conferred.

The University requires that the graduate adviser be assigned in the student’s first graduate quarter even though the undergraduate career may still be open. The University also requires that the Master’s Degree Program Proposal be completed by the student and approved by the department by the end of the student’s first graduate quarter.

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I was able to learn from passionate and kind sustainability leaders and try out my learnings on real-world issues.

Degree FAQs

Questions? See our FAQs.

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